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HRC system in production at BMW Dingolfing

The employees at BMW Group’s Dingolfing Plant have a new, highly responsive assistant: an LBR iiwa lightweight robot from KUKA, which primarily takes over monotonous and physically demanding tasks.

June 7, 2017

The initial situation

While earlier the BMW employees had to lift up to 5.5kg-heavy and not easy to reach differential case and had to adjust millimeter-precision in the assembly of the front axle, now the innovative robot is taking this ergonomically demanding work.

The task

The most challenging feature in the concept of the HRC system was the limited space available for the construction. For this human-robot collaboration (HRC) project, the experts designed a system which can be integrated into the existing production line without having to redesign it.

The solution

The solution developed by KUKA systems: A slim steel construction in the form of a gallows, to which the LBR iiwa is fixed. This saves space because the sensitive lightweight robot can work suspended. External sensors are not required as the LBR iiwa has joint-torque sensors in each of its seven axes. In addition, the gripper has been provided with an edge-free and rounded HRC sheath, so that the end effector is also capable of protecting the worker against injury at any time. Furthermore the compact control cabinet accommodated the existing production line and provides an interface to the system control. Human and robot are now joining together the differential case for the front-axle – in less than half a minute.
Human-robot-collaboration in the automotive industry

"In the future, we will see a lot more such applications in the automotive industry. In times of increasing variety diversity, it is a clear competitive advantage to adapt production optimally to the required capacity - using flexible MRK units, for example. "

Juergen Seifert, project manager for sensitive robotic at KUKA Systems